Among the Creationists: Dispatches from the Anti-Evolutionist Front Line

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Oxford University Press, Apr 2, 2012 - Religion - 272 pages
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Why do so many Americans reject the modern theory of evolution? Why does creationism, thoroughly refuted by scientists, retain such popularity among the public? Is the perceived conflict between evolution and Christianity genuine, or is it merely an illusion peculiar to Protestant fundamentalism? Seeking answers to these questions, mathematician Jason Rosenhouse became a regular attendee at creationist conferences and other gatherings. After ten years of attending events like the giant Creation Mega-Conference in Lynchburg, Virginia, and visiting sites like the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, and after hundreds of surprisingly friendly conversations with creationists of varying stripes, he has emerged with a story to tell, a story that goes well beyond the usual stereotypes of Bible-thumping fanatics railing against coldly rational scientists. Through anecdotes, personal reflections, and scientific and philosophical discussion, Rosenhouse presents a more down-to-earth picture of modern creationism and the people who espouse it. He is neither polemical nor insulting, but he does not pull punches when he spots an error in the logical or scientific reasoning of creationists, especially when they wander into his own field, mathematics. Along the way, he also tells the story of his own nonbeliever's attempt to understand a major aspect of American religion. Forced to wrestle with his views about God and evolution, Rosenhouse found himself drawn into a new world of ideas previously unknown to him, arriving at a sharper understanding of the reality of science-versus-religion disputes, and how these debates look to those beyond the ivory tower. A personal memoir of one scientist's attempt to come to grips with this controversy-by immersing himself in the culture of the anti-evolutionists-Among the Creationists is a fair, fresh, and insightful account of the modern American debate over Darwinism.
 

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Contents

Creation as Fishtank
iii
Methodological Naturalism
iii
Irreducible Complexity
iii
Visiting the Creation Museum Petersburg Kentucky August 2010
iv
Creation Cinema
iv
Creation and Corruption
iv
Groaning under the Curse
iv
From Catastrophe to Consummation
iv

The Creation MegaConference Lynchburg Virginia July 2005
ii
An Introduction to Evolution
ii
An Introduction to Creationism
ii
Literalism and Other Canards
ii
Browsing the Bookstore
ii
The Best Evidence That God Created
ii
Fossils Human and Otherwise
ii
On Information
ii
Movies and Television
ii
The Darwin vs Design Conference Knoxville Tennessee March 2007
iii
The Marginality of Genesis 1
iii
Intelligent Design vs YoungEarth Creationism
iii
Rhetorical Legerdemain
iii
Conversion Stories
iii
On Religious Experience
iii
What Does Genesis Mean?
iv
Theological Phlogiston
iv
Why I Love Being Jewish
iv
The Sixth International Conference on Creationism Pittsburgh Pennsylvania August 2008
v
Building the Creation Model
vi
Inevitable Humans?
x
Unpleasantness
xix
Conversations in Bookstores
xxiv
Is the Earth at the Center of the Universe?
xxviii
Things I Learned at the Banquet
xxxii
Epilogue
xxxvi
Notes
xlii
Bibliography
13
Index
21
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About the author (2012)

Jason Rosenhouse is Associate Professor of Mathematics at James Madison University. He is previously the author of The Monty Hall Problem: The Remarkable Story of Math's Most Contentious Brain Teaser and Taking Sudoku Seriously: The Math Behind the World's Most Popular Pencil Puzzle.

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